Thirteen New Tenure-Track Faculty Members Bring Deep, Diverse Expertise to San Francisco State

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Photo of Sean McFarland demonstrating photography technique to his students in a hallway

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts welcomed 13 tenure-track faculty members to its ranks at beginning of the school year.

Ten of the new tenure-track professors are women. These rising stars bring a wealth and breadth of expertise to share with students in subjects as diverse as the University itself. They include a best-selling author, a reporter who will start a Spanish-language journalism program for undergraduates, an expert on online harassment, a food justice activist, an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, a scholar of Chinese politics, a researcher exploring representations of female desire across popular culture and more.

The new assistant professors are among 43 tenure-track and tenured faculty joining San Francisco State this year.

See-Won Byun, International Relations

See-Won Byun photo

See-Won Byun’s research and teaching centers on Chinese politics and the international relations of Asia. Her interests include the political economy of global integration, security dimensions of economic interdependence and politics of national identity.

Byun’s latest article, “Moon’s Olympic Diplomacy,” explores recent developments in relations between North Korea, South Korea and China. Written with Scott Snyder, the article was published in the Comparative Connections journal in May.

Before joining San Francisco State, Byun was a visiting assistant professor of politics at Bates College. She received a doctorate in political science and Master of Arts in international affairs from George Washington University, Master of Arts in international studies from Yonsei University and Bachelor of Arts in economics from Brown University.

Ana Lourdes Cárdenas, Journalism

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Ana Lourdes Cárdenas joined the Journalism Department this fall to launch a Spanish-language journalism program. She has served as a producer at CNN’s Mexico City bureau and city editor at Al Día, a Spanish-language publication of the Dallas Morning News. Cárdenas founded and edited SomosFrontera, which covers the Latino community in the El Paso, Texas, region.

Her 2016 book, Marihuana: El Viaje A La Legalizacion, is the result of in-depth reporting in Colorado.

Most recently, Cárdenas taught journalism at New Mexico State University. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from University of Texas, El Paso, and a Master of Science from University of Southern California. Cárdenas was also a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Rebecca Eissler, Political Science

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Rebecca Eissler studies public policy and American politics with an emphasis on agenda-setting, the presidency and information processing.

Her most recent work, “Prioritizer-in-Chief: The Role of the President in the Policy Process from Reagan to Obama,” examines policy areas and strategies that presidents use to make policy and considers how presidents make trade-offs in attention and strategy. In 2017 she presented her paper “The Tug of War: Presidential and Media Agenda Setting in the First 100 Days” with Annelise Russell at the Comparative Agendas Project’s annual meeting in the U.K.

Eissler earned her doctorate in government this year from University of Texas, Austin. There, she served as project manager of the Policy Agendas Project, which assembles and codes information on the policy processes of governments from around the world.

Bridget Gelms, English Language and Literature

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As debates over social media content continue worldwide, Bridget Gelms may be able to offer valuable insight. She studies digital rhetoric, social media and online harassment and aggression. Her current project examines the intersections between online harassment, misinformation and free-speech debates.

At SF State, she teaches courses in the undergraduate Technical and Professional Writing Program and the graduate program in composition.

Gelms earned her doctorate in composition and rhetoric from Miami University of Ohio in 2018. Her dissertation is titled “Volatile Visibility: The Effects of Online Harassment on Feminist Circulation and Public Discourse.” She earned a Master of Arts in English studies from Ball State University in 2013.

Constance Gordon, Communication Studies

Constance Gordon photo

Constance Gordon returns to San Francisco State, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations in 2011. After graduating, she went on to complete a doctorate and Master of Arts from University of Colorado, Boulder.

Gordon studies food and environmental justice; the intersections of race, labor, place and belonging; critical geographies of dispossession; and community-based advocacy.

From Colorado to the Bay Area, she has been active in food justice and labor. Gordon was organizer for Denver Fair Food, which seeks to transform corporate food industry purchasing practices to advance the human rights of farmworkers. After the 2013 flood in Boulder, she organized a grassroots effort to assist residents and the surrounding community. She has also worked in communications for the Unite Here union in San Francisco.

While attending SF State, Gordon was a member of the Speech and Debate Team, winning the 2011 Debater of the Year award from the Northern California Forensics Association. She graduated magna cum laude with distinction and was named the International Relations Department’s undergraduate honoree.

Laura Green, Cinema

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Bay Area-based documentary director and editor Laura Green’s first feature-length film, The Providers, premiered this year at the Full Frame Documentary Festival and was selected for the American Film Institute’s DOC Impact Labs. Set against the backdrop of the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural America, the film follows three health-care providers in northern New Mexico. HollywoodGlee praised the film as “heart-warming, soul-affirming.”

Green’s short documentaries have played at the Palm Springs Shortfest, Aspen Shortsfest, Sarasota Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Outfest and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. She edited True Son, a feature-length documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and the web-series The F Word.

Green has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, California College of the Arts and Art Institute of California, San Francisco. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Stanford and Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.

Arezoo Islami, Philosophy

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Arezoo Islami is a philosopher of science and mathematics, interested in studying the historical construction of knowledge in math and physics and the philosophical consequences of their dynamic relationship.

This fall she is teaching Art(s) of Quantitative Reasoning and the Graduate Seminar in Philosophy of Science.

From 2016 to 2018, Islami served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Thinking Matters program at Stanford University, where she also received her Ph.D. In her dissertation, “On the Applicability of Mathematics in Physics: A Critical Review of Wigner’s Puzzle,” she argues that the effectiveness of mathematics in physics is not unreasonable at all. She demonstrates this by explaining the role of invariance principles in the hierarchical structure of modern physics and further supports her conclusion through the case study of complex numbers in quantum mechanics.

Islami also holds a Master of Arts in philosophy from Texas Tech University, a Master of Science in philosophy of science from Sharif University of Technology and Bachelor of Science in pure mathematics from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.

Michael David Lukas, Creative Writing

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Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a night-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, a student at the American University of Cairo and a waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. Now he is an assistant professor and best-selling author.

His first novel, The Oracle of Stamboul, was a finalist for the California Book Award, NCIBA Book of the Year Award and Harold U. Ribalow Prize. It’s also been translated into more than 12 languages. BBC describes his latest novel, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo, as “lyrical, compassionate and illuminating.”

Lukas has written articles and book reviews for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, Slate, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Tikkun and New York Sun.

He earned his Master of Fine Arts from University of Maryland in 2006 and Bachelor of Arts from Brown University in 2003.

Sean McFarland, Art

Sean McFarland photo

Sean McFarland constructs his artwork using found photographs, double exposures, prismatic effects and various light-sensitive materials. He has also incorporated found materials such as bottle caps to create moons and glass to create mountains. Using the suggested immediacy of Polaroids and photography’s claim to veracity, McFarland plays with our notion that when we see something we feel like we are there.

Artforum, the world’s premier art magazine, reviewed and recommended McFarland’s 2017 solo exhibition at the Casemore/Kirkeby gallery in San Francisco. “In this exhibition, Echo, he utilizes the familiar iconography of mountains and waterfalls, but his treatment undermines the presumptions of truth, power and possession that have long been associated with the genre,” critic Kim Beil writes.

As a winner of the 2017 SECA Art Award, McFarland was also featured in an exhibition at the SFMOMA.

McFarland has taught at SF State since 2015. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts and his Bachelor of Science from Humboldt State University.

Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Design

Joshua McVeigh-Schultz photo

Joshua McVeigh-Schultz is a hybrid ethnographer, design researcher, media maker and a new assistant professor of Design.

As part of his dissertation at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, McVeigh-Schultz created LoveLog, a short film about love in an augmented world.

His research intersects human-computer interaction, anthropology, media studies and design theory. In 2013, he won an Intel Ph.D. fellowship for his dissertation research.

He will begin teaching in SF State’s School of Design in spring 2019.

Katherine Morrissey, Cinema

Katherine Morrissey photo

Katherine Morrissey researches representations of female desire across popular culture, storytelling across media, production networks for popular romance genres, participatory culture, digital production and digital pedagogy. She has given conference presentations on topics ranging from female nudity on HBO’s Girls and Insecure to romance and reality in wedding television.

Morrissey’s forthcoming book project is tentatively titled Redefining Romance: Love and Desire in Today’s Digital Culture.

She is review editor for the Transformative Works and Cultures journal and co-vice president for the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance.

Morrissey earned her Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Most recently, she was a lecturer in the College of Communication and Information at University of Kentucky. From 2014 to 2017, she was a visiting assistant professor of English at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Shabnam Piryaei, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

Shabnam Piryaei photo

Scholar, poet and filmmaker Shabnam Piryaei just finished her doctorate in comparative literature from University of California, Riverside. Her dissertation is titled “Perpetual State of Emergency: Legally Codified State Violence in Post-Revolutionary Iran and the Contemporary U.S.”

Piryaei has won numerous awards including the Poets and Writers Amy Award; grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Grant; and a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Regarding her book Ode to Fragile, Hyphen magazine writes: “Piryaei offers us a complex collection that, as poet Muriel Rukeyser put it, reaches us intellectually while showing that ‘the way is through emotion, through what we call feeling.’”

Wendy Salkin, Philosophy

Wendy Salkin photo

Who speaks for you? And what would you expect of them? Wendy Salkin explored informal political representations for her Harvard dissertation.

She focuses her research on social and political philosophy, moral philosophy, black political thought and philosophy of law. She also works on questions in feminist philosophy, criminal law, constitutional law, bioethics and legal ethics.

Salkin also has served as a law clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and as a legal adviser on the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague.

She completed her doctorate in philosophy from Harvard in May. She earned her law degree from Stanford and her Bachelor of Arts from New York University.

— Matt Itelson

Photo, top of page: Assistant Professor of Art Sean McFarland (left) demonstrates a photography technique to his students. Photo by Sreang Hok.

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